Friday, 17 January 2020

17th - 19th January 2020

Sunday, 19th JanuaryAnother beautifully crisp and bright morning, after a sharp frost, with unbroken sunshine and just a light northerly breeze.....

Selsey BillAn encouraging count of 16 Slavonian Grebes going east (plus three on the sea) and the first Shag of the year, first east, then west, were the highlights. (SH/JA/SR/BI/AH/IP/A&YF/NS/RJS et al)
(0730-0930hrs) (NNW, F2)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 4E, 4W
diver sp - 1E
Slavonian Grebe - 16E, 3os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1W, 1os
Shag - 1E, then W
Brent Goose - 3W
Wigeon - 17E
Common Scoter - 3E, 4W
Red-breasted Merganser - 19E, 7os
Turnstone - 10
Common Gull - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 3os
Sandwich Tern - 1E
auk sp - 1E, 8W

Shag (above), Red-throated Diver, Sandwich Tern & Mediterranean Gull at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just the usual mix this morning, including c40 Shovelers, c80 Teal, c150 Wigeon and c500 Lapwings. (AH)

Wigeon on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A Red-throated Diver and two Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, along with a large, but very distant feeding gull flock. (S&SaH)

East Head: Around 20 Eider were distantly viewable offshore from East Head this morning and eight Sanderling were on the shoreline. (GaJ)

North Wall: The horse paddocks this morning contained six Blackbirds, three Song Thrushes and a Redwing while in the background a Barn Owl patrolled the reed beds and a Green Woodpecker called. 
At the sluice gates there were at least two Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest, and in the fields there were at least 60 Curlew, numerous Wigeon, four Shelduck and some restless Brent Geese, large flocks of which were frequently airborne. (IH/PC)
Later, a Marsh Harrier was seen from the stables, (SR) and the Barn Owl was back out hunting mid-afternoon. (IH)

Marsh Farm: There were 21 Cattle Egrets, two Egyptian Geese and a Marsh Harrier near the farm today. (GaJ)

Wilf's Copse: A Nuthatch was calling from the copse this morning, whilst a female Blackcap was at the back of the house at the start of the footpath. Also, a Jay, a Buzzard and a few Goldcrests were present. (AH/IP)

Medmerry: Breach Viewpoint - A Marsh Harrier was seen from here this morning. (RJS/A&YF)

Fishbourne Creek: The Long-tailed Duck was present below Dell Quay mid-morning, where there were also eight Goldeneyes (three males) and three Red-breasted Mergansers. 
Off Apuldram were a group of five Spotted Redshank working their way down the channel, and earlier three had been at the top of the creek. Off the Lavant outfall were 49 Knot and two Pintail, whilst along the channel at midday there were about 200 Black Tailed Godwits and 110 Curlew, along with many 100's of Common Gulls. (RW) The Water Pipit was also present. (GaJ)

Drayton Pits: A pair of Marsh Harriers were flying about together this morning, whilst in the bushes a Bullfinch and a couple of Firecrests were seen.
Also, at least 30 Greylags flew out and there were good numbers of Pochard and Shoveler present, along with a displaying pair of Great Crested Grebes. (AH/IP)
Later on, a male Goosander flew in from north circled once then flew back north, and the two Marsh Harriers were still present.. (S&SaH)

Marsh Harriers (above), Shovelers & Great Crested Grebes at Drayton Pit (AH)

Northcommon Farm: The Little Owl was around the buildings at dusk this evening. (SR)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - It was good to see a Barn Owl out hunting this afternoon, after a long absence, whilst there were also a Stonechat, a Fieldfare, two Yellowhammers and three Reed Buntings along the banks and two Buzzards and a Kestrel went over. (S&SaH)

Medmerry: Ham Farm and Porthole Farm - A Barn Owl was also out hunting the banks at Ham, late this afternooon, whilst a pair of Stonechats and a few Meadow Pipits were along the fenceline and c50 Fieldfares and a few Lapwings were in one of the arable fields.
Earlier, at least a dozen Chiffchaffs were along the southern hedge of the sewage farm at Porthole Farm and 100+ Pied Wagtails were around the settling tanks, whilst two Buzzards were also in the vicinity. (AH)

Barn Owl (above), Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit & Fieldfares at Medmerry (AH)

Saturday, 18th JanuaryA welcome change in the weather with high pressure moving in; cold, crisp and frosty with glorious winter sunshine and a cool but light NW wind.

We regret to report the sad news of the recent passing of Hants birder and former Bill regular John Brame. Although John may not be known to the younger generation of Peninsula birders, he was certainly well known to the older set from the late 1980s to the turn of the century and is a former Pom King, having won the title in 1997. But John didn't just win it, he smashed it, holding the honour of recording the most Poms in a day (103) and the biggest single flock (the near-mythical 25)....all recorded on that magical 2nd May. What's more it is a record that still stands to this day, despite the annual efforts of many of us since, (though the 25 flock has now been equalled).

John was a man big in stature and personality, with a cheery attitude and a sense of humour - which he certainly needed when teased by some of his fellow Hants birders who also attended at this time! He would often be found sitting in the sunshine, puffing contentedly on a small cigar as the banter went on around him; these were good times at the Bill when the old Pontins site was still a great birding spot.

Our sincere condolences go to his wife Judy and the family. If anyone would like to attend his funeral it will be held on Wednesday 5th February at 1:45pm at:-

The Oaks Crematorium (this is next to The Spire BUPA Hospital)

Bartons Road, Havant PO9 5NA 

(We are grateful for information from Hants birder and former regular Ian Calderwood) (Eds)

The late John Brame in full summer plumage at the Bill, May 2001 (OM)

Selsey Bill: An interesting morning with a Long-tailed Duck and a couple of Slavonian Grebes east - but perhaps star billing goes to the (heard only?) Ring-necked Parakeet - a local rarity!
0730-0930hrs:  (wind NW2)  (SH/BI/SR/IP)
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 3os
Slavonian Grebe - 2E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1os
Brent Goose - 6W
Common Scoter - 5W
Red-breasted Merganser - 33E, 9W
Long-tailed Duck - 1E
Teal - 2E
Razorbill - 1E
auk sp - 1E, 1W
Sandwich Tern - 3os
Mediterranean Gull - 2os
Common Gull - 1W
Ring-necked Parakeet - 1

Ferry Pool: About 40 Shoveler and c100 Wigeon and Teal were around the pool, with at least 500 Lapwings sat out on the field. (AH)

Lapwings at the Ferry (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: Around 100 Curlews were in the field that is go be built on, whilst four Tufted Ducks and a Shoveler were on the reservoir and up to four Sparrowhawks,  a flock of 25 Long-tailed Tits and a Green Woodpecker were around the farm. (IP/S&SaH)

Church Norton: Three Slavonian Grebes, a Red-throated Diver and five Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore this morning, but the harbour was quiet save the Peregrine and a few of the regular waders. There were also a pair of Stonechats in the horse field and a Cetti's Warbler was calling from the Severals. (IP/S&SaH)

North Wall: The Barn Owl was out hunting late this morning and a Raven went over heading east, whilst the four Egyptian Geese and up to 20 Cattle Egrets were distantly viewable around Marsh Farm.
The fields behind the North wall, were full of birds, with at least 90 Curlew, c200 Wigeon, c50 Teal (with a pair of Gadwall among them) and at least 2000 Brent Geese enjoying the wet conditions. 
There were a lot of waders in the harbour, too, including at least 200 Golden Plovers, up to 1000 Black-tailed Godwits and at least that, and probably many more, Lapwings, all taking to the wing several times, though no raptors were noted.
The only passerines noted were a few Reed Buntings and a couple of calling Cetti's Warblers along the wall and two Redwings, five Song Thrushes, ten Blackbirds, a Grey and two Pied Wagtails, plus a Kestrel, in the paddocks and a couple of Goldcrests along the lane. (AH/JDW et al)

Barn Owl (above), Raven, Redwing, Cattle Egret, Reed Bunting, Lapwings & Brent Geese at the North Wall (AH)

Friday, 17th January: A fairly bright morning, but chilly in the brisk and freshening westerly breeze....

Selsey Bill: Three Fulmars went west and two Slavonian Grebes and up to eight Sandwich Terns were offshore this morning, but there was minimal movement otherwise. Full log below:
(0740-0930hrs) (wind WSW F6-7). (SR/BI/IP/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
diver sp. - 2E
Slavonian Grebe - 2os
Fulmar - 3W
Common Scoter - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 22E, 7W, 6os
Common Gull - 12E
Kittiwake - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 8os
Razorbill - 4os
auk sp, - 1E, 1W

Fulmar (above) & Sandwich Tern at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: A total of 34 Avocets were roosting along the far bank this morning, along with 20 Shoveler and 80 Teal, with about 50 Wigeon on the field. (AH)

Avocets on the Ferry (AH)

Wilf's Copse, Hunston: A Firecrest and a Tree-creeper were showing this morning. (SR)

North Wall: The relatively sheltered horse paddocks this morning contained six Redwing,  a Song Thrush, a Kestrel, two Pied Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail. 
Also, a Spotted Redshank was close to the sluice gates, a Cetti's Warbler called valiantly in the wind and the flooded fields were populated by Wigeon, Shoveler, about 100 Curlew and a few Brent Geese. (IH)
Late this morning a Barn Owl was hunting in the strong winds to the east of the stables, just to the north of the stables and reed beds and the Marsh Harrier was seen a couple of times. On the fence by the sluice gate the Kestrel was around again, also a couple of Grey Wagtails were in the horse paddock. (GHi) It was quiet towards Honer & Summer Lane with just a few Chiffchaffs and a Grey Wagtail of note at Pagham SF. (BI)

Barn Owl (above), Grey Wagtail & Kestrel at the North Wall(GHi)

Church Norton: There wasn't much to report this morning, with most of the activity being the birds flying up from the other end of the harbour, including at least 500 Lapwing and 100 Golden Plovers, with the mud containing just a scattering of Dunlin and Grey Plovers and the channel just a single Red-breasted Merganser and a few Shelducks.
The only passerines noted were a couple of Skylarks over the harbour and a few Long-tailed Tits along the sheltered hedges. (AH/IP)

Golden Plovers and Lapwings (above), Lapwings & Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

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